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Thread: How To Maintain Vinyl Graphics/Stickers/Stripes/Decals

          
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    How To Maintain Vinyl Graphics/Stickers/Stripes/Decals

    How To Maintain Vinyl Graphics/Stickers/Stripes/Decals


    Hey guys, I'm new around here

    I didn't want to derail a recent thread on vinyl stripes, so i thought i'd start a new one.

    Here's the situation : a new, 2009 Dodge Challenger with vinyl hood stripes. The stripes are fake carbon fiber, but i'm quite sure they are actually made of vinyl. After a pre-wax cleaner, I noticed tiny spots ... almost like watermarks, but too small ... on, or in, the surface of the stripes. Almost like small imperfections, kinda "inclusions" of sorts but no real signs of contamination that can be felt by gentle touching.

    Anyway, some vinyl cleaner seemed to help. But actually, the vinyl cleaner only seemed to changed the surface "luster" so the spots are now only visible in "indirect" lighting. These spots now appear to be surface imperfections. Remember, the car only has 20 miles on it.

    So, I think I need something a bit more aggressive than vinyl cleaner, but perhaps not quite so aggressive as PlastX. So i'm thinking #17 Plastic Cleaner followed by #10 Plastic Polish on these vinyl stripes. I offer two threads to back-up my thinking :

    1. A thread where Mike Phillips remembers using #10 Plastic Polish on vinyl stripes :

    http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/sho...ghlight=m-1008

    2. A thread where #17 Plastic Cleaner and #10 Plastic Polish were used, quite successfully, on a clear vinyl headlight protectant :

    http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums...ighlight=vinyl

    What do you guys think about #17 Plastic Cleaner and #10 Plastic Polish on vinyl stripes?

    You what's a bit disappointing ... these vinyl stripes & graphics are becoming more & more popular on cars. But yet, it's hard to get good product recommendations for them. Heck, it's hard to even get consistent answers from experts on simple questions like : should vinyl stripes be waxed? For what it's worth, I've always used #20 Polymer Sealant on vinyl stripes on my Fords without any difficulty at all.

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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: vinyl stripes (the sequel)

    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post

    Hey guys, I'm new around here
    Since this was you're first post to our forum,

    Welcome to Meguiar's Online!

    Sorry it took a few days to find your thread and post a reply...


    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    Anyway, some vinyl cleaner seemed to help. But actually, the vinyl cleaner only seemed to changed the surface "luster" so the spots are now only visible in "indirect" lighting. These spots now appear to be surface imperfections. Remember, the car only has 20 miles on it.
    A dedicated vinyl cleaner like our M39 would tend to clean and also dull a vinyl graphic. Too aggressive for this kind of material.


    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    So, I think I need something a bit more aggressive than vinyl cleaner, but perhaps not quite so aggressive as PlastX. So i'm thinking #17 Plastic Cleaner followed by #10 Plastic Polish on these vinyl stripes. I offer two threads to back-up my thinking :
    With materials like you're working on where in the market place there are no dedicated products for this material by any company at least that I know of you're kind of left with trial and error.

    That is test out a product in an inconspicuous area first and check to make sure it's working and getting the results you're looking for.

    M10 is a non-abrasive pure polish and should and would be a safe product to test with.

    M17 is a light cleaner/polish and very, very gentle as far as cleaning ability goes and would and should be a safe product to test with.

    Gold Class Trim Detailer is a dressing for rubber, plastic and vinyl and I've used this successfully for years for flat black paint and also vinyl graphics, again you would want to test first in an inconspicuous area.

    If the graphics themselves have some kind of defect in them, as in a topical imperfection then chances are no product is going to remove the defect because vinyl graphics don't lend themselves well to be abraded, (cleaned), with the end-result looking good and/or looking original.

    See this thread for more info on that last paragraph,
    http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7228

    (thread 7728 is a classic)


    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    What do you guys think about #17 Plastic Cleaner and #10 Plastic Polish on vinyl stripes?
    "When your choices are do nothing or try anything you're left with testing something"


    Just test in an inconspicuous area first. Apply using a clean, soft foam applicator pad and wipe off using a clean, soft microfiber polishing cloth.

    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    You know what's a bit disappointing ... these vinyl stripes & graphics are becoming more & more popular on cars. But yet, it's hard to get good product recommendations for them.
    Just to add it's hard to impossible to get a GOOD product recommendation from the MANUFACTURE. (Wiping with with a cloth dampened with water doesn't count as a GOOD product recommendation)


    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    Heck, it's hard to even get consistent answers from experts on simple questions like : should vinyl stripes be waxed? For what it's worth, I've always used #20 Polymer Sealant on vinyl stripes on my Fords without any difficulty at all.
    Part of the problem is that there are so many different types of materials used to make graphics, some are glossy, some are matte, some are high quality, some are not.

    The fact that the people making these and the car manufactures using them don't think this out far enough to offer your the customer some kind of product to maintain these materials over the lifetime of the car is not surprising. It's always been very apparent to met that the engineers that came up with the idea for pebble textured plastic for use as trim on a car have never polished or waxed a car before.

    I've had the good fortune to buff out just about everything under the sun in my lifetime and that includes a wide variety of different types of vinyl graphics and each project always includes testing and qualify a product before dressing all of the graphics.

    Some graphics take well to being waxed with a product like M20 or NXT while others seem to like Trim Detailer.

    This is an all original 1982 Corvette with a large vinyl graphic sticker on the hood and sides that were dull and faded before the detail job. After washing and drying, I applied and gently worked in a coat of Gold Class Trim Detailer to the vinyl and let it penetrate while the paint was machine cleaned, polished and waxed. After everything was done the graphics were carefully wiped clean to remove any excess product using a clean, soft microfiber. It did a great job of restoring a clear, rich look to the graphics.













    Trim Detailer won't work on all graphics that's why it's important to test first but in this case it was the best product for the job.


    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

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    Re: vinyl stripes (the sequel)

    I know this is going to seem extreme, but you could always remove the graphics and have them replaced with real paint.

    I think Mike said it best, there's simply too many "flavours" of graphic materials out there to be able to generalize anything. I do have confidence in Meguiar's though, that you'll be able to find a product that works!

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    Re: vinyl stripes (the sequel)

    Thanks guys !!!

    I'll let you know what I find out. Part of the difficulty is, naturally, sometimes (even most-times) these applied graphics really don't have an inconspicuous spot!

    Just adds to the challenge, i guess ...

    You know, it just might be a "hole" in the market, and therefore a product opportunity, for Meguiars to offer a specific product ... or suite of products ... designed specifically for applied graphics. They aren't going away anytime soon!

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    Re: vinyl stripes (the sequel)

    Well, I've had some pretty good success with #17 Plastic Cleaner followed by Trim Detailer. The Trim Detailer is not particularly easy to use, however. It takes forever to dry, a separate product (like Final Inspection) is needed to remove it from the adjacent painted finish, and it takes some work to avoid an "uneven" or "shadowed" finish on the surface. Maybe I should have let the Trim Detailer dry overnight? It was not completely dry, after a couple hours, when I removed it.

    But the finish looks pretty darn good now! I've learned that these tiny spots in the vinyl stripes are not dirt or contamination ... they are part of the surface on the stripes that reveal themselves when the stripes are cleaned of any "luster". I've now seen them, to varying degrees, on every other Challenger i've seen (sometimes you really have to look at a shallow angle under indirect light). But the spots tend to disappear when the needed "luster" is restored ... and the Trim Detailer did restore the luster Strange indeed!

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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: vinyl stripes (the sequel)

    Dressings don't really dry, Gold Class Trim Detailer doesn't dry. If you go back and read what I wrote about it above, the recommendation was to apply, gently work-in and then allow it to penetrate and then gently wipe off any excess residue.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips View Post
    After washing and drying, I applied and gently worked in a coat of Gold Class Trim Detailer to the vinyl and let it penetrate while the paint was machine cleaned, polished and waxed.

    After everything was done the graphics were carefully wiped clean to remove any excess product using a clean, soft microfiber.

    It did a great job of restoring a clear, rich look to the graphics.

    In the How To Articles forum there's a thread on Final Wiping Techniques use these techniques for wiping off anything from vinyl graphics.


    Mike Phillips
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    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

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    Re: vinyl stripes (the sequel)

    Thanks once again Mike!

    What has now worked quite well is the following :

    - I've applied the Trim Detailer to a soft, terry cloth. For this second coat, I'm definitely using more sparingly than I did first time.

    - I gently work the product "into" the vinyl stripe, one section at a time. There's no doubt that "penetration" happens almost immediately, as the product is gently "worked-in".

    - Almost immediately after working the product in, I use a second (dry) terry cloth to gently wipe away the excess.

    - When I finish the whole stripe this way, I gently go over the entire stripe in the longest possible motions, with a dry terry cloth, to wipe away excess while more evenly distributing the still-damp product.

    The end result looks pretty darn good !!

    I think the great result is a combination of : using the product a bit more intelligently (too much applied unevenly on the first coat), and just the fact that I've put on a second coat. And as much as I've come to like microfiber for polishes & waxes, I think I like terry better for these "wet" products.

    I can now see why you recommend Trim Detailer for vinyl stripes & graphics

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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: vinyl stripes (the sequel)

    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    I can now see why you recommend Trim Detailer for vinyl stripes & graphics
    Thanks for the follow-up posts...

    Again, Gold Class Trim Detailer isn't made for vinyl stripes and graphics it's just there's nothing really no the market for this job and that leads to thinking outside the box.

    If you're detailing a customer's car and the car has vinyl graphics, it's pretty hard to buff out the car and make the paint shiny but leave the graphics dull and lifeless.

    Sometimes something is better than nothing and sometimes all you can do is all you can do...


    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

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    Re: How To Maintain Vinyl Graphics/Stickers/Stripes/Decals

    Hi Guys......

    Thanks for the hints.....

    I will have to try the Trim Detailer.....

    The medium blue vinyl stripes on my Roush have realy taken a beating.

    They had become very dull, and had what looked like white water spots on them.

    I tried a lot of products on them, but I found the best for me was applying Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner with an orbital buffer. Then following up with #21 Synthetic Sealant, also with the orbital buffer.

    Because of the extreme bad shape they were in, they are not perfect now, but they are a 100% better now, and I realy have to look close to find the imperfections.

    I hope this helps anyone with the same probem.
    2006 White Roush Mustang Convertible

    2000 Silver 2000 Mustang GT Convertible

    "Work like you don't need the money.
    Love like you've never been hurt.
    Dance like nobody's watching."
    ............Satchel Paige

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    Re: How To Maintain Vinyl Graphics/Stickers/Stripes/Decals

    Hi, thank you for the comments, are very useful, but i want to ask if you know any meguiars distributor here in CR.

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